The 90s were an awesome time for alternative music fans. The movement which had begun in the 80s by independent bands had fully blossomed into a genre filled with incredible variety. To honor our Alternative Pioneers I have put together a list of ten albums (in no particular order) which standout as great examples of alternative rock from the 90s. Remember, this is a list of albums I enjoy not a list of which albums are the absolute best. I don't know nearly enough about music to definitively announce which albums are best. I just know what I like.
10. Weezer (Blue Album) - Weezer
Let's kick this list off in style. Weezer's debut album was nothing short of incredible. While Pinkerton usually gets all the love, the Blue Album has a special place in my heart, as it was the first Weezer album I bought. Loud, crisp and just plain fun, this album embodies much of what made the 90s such an awesome decade to grow up in.
"My Name is Jonas"
"Undone - The Sweater Song"
9. August and Everything After - Counting Crows
Adam Duritz will not be the last the last person on the list whose unique voice is a huge reason their band stands out. It is so easy to know you listening to a Counting Crows song within the first few lines sung by Duritz. Some of the most iconic songs for the Counting Crows can be enjoyed on this album. Classics like "Round Here" and "Mr. Jones." While these tracks are wonderful don't cheat yourself by only listening to these popular tracks. "Omaha," "Rain King," and "Murder of One" are just some of the other amazing tracks on an album which does not contain any tracks I skip.
"Murder of One"
8. The Fury of the Aquabats - The Aquabats
There are a lot of people who are not familiar with Ska. In fact I would wager that there are some who are reading who opened up a new tab to Google the word "ska." The ska that I am referring to is more correctly referred to as ska-punk, and it is the ultimate feel-good music. "The Fury of the Aquabats" is a somewhat silly, but totally rad album detailing the adventures of the mighty Aquabats in a time beforeYo Gabba Gabba. If you want to relive the sound of summer in the 90s I highly recommend this album.
"Playdough" (Hidden Track)
7. Nevermind - Nirvana
I was a little worried about putting this on the list. Not because I though it might not belong on the list - it is considered by many to be one of the greatest albums ever released - no, I'm simply afraid that you, the reader will think I am just jumping on the bandwagon. It seems when a group reaches a certain level of praise they become over-rated. Maybe Nirvana is over-rated, but I just don't care. They played a huge role in bringing grunge rock to the masses. There are many who would say that Dirt by Alice in Chains should be on this list representing grunge, but I honestly just prefer Kurt Cobain's singing to Layne Staley's, but that's just me.
"Smells Like Teen Spirit"
6. Dizzy Up the Girl - Goo Goo Dolls
The Goo-Goo Dolls released Dizzy Up the Girl in September of 1998 to positive reviews. In fact the album would end up being the group's best work. Sadly, the Goo Goo dolls have since been unable to recapture the magic found on this awesome album and have been relatively obscure ever since. They are still releasing albums, however with their latest coming out last year.
5. Gin Blossoms - Outside Looking In
Okay I know the Gin Blossoms are never going to be recognized as a musical act who changed the way we listened to music, or who made a gnre fresh again like some of the other acts on this list, but that shouldn't stop you from giving their "best of" album a listen. I promise the upbeat music will brighten your day.
"Follow You Down"
"Til I Hear it From You"
4. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - Smashing Pumpkins
There is not another person on the planet with a voice that sounds like Billy Crogan's. "Infinite Sadness" highlights both the unique sound of his voice as well as that of the band as a whole. With beautiful, thoughtfully written lyrics and stirring orchestrated backup in some of the songs, this album leaves a definite impression on the listener. Also, "Tonight, Tonight" has one of the coolest music videos ever!
"Bullet With Butterfly Wings"
3. Stunt - Barenaked Ladies
"It's been one week since you looked at me huh-yeh-nuh-nuh-n-uh 5 days since the living room buh-duh-duh-duh-doo-doo." Show me a man who can sing all the lyrics of "One Week" correctly and clearly and I will show you a man for whom I harbor a great deal of respect. Seriously, it doesn't matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to get this song down. The album also has a number of other memorable, catchy tracks, but be warned, the Barenaked Ladies are very quirky, which means there will be some who do not enjoy their music. It's worth it if you can embrace the silliness; I promise there is not another alternative group quite like them.
"It's All Been Done"
"Call and Answer"
2. Dookie -Green Day
The resurrection of punk. Okay maybe that's a bit much, but Dookie helped introduce punk music to a new generation of listeners, contributing the resurgence of the genre. But apart from all that, the album is just so darn memorable. Every time "When I Come Around" comes on either the radio or my iPhone I never fail to turn the volume up. 20 years after its release this album still stands strong on its feet.
"Welcome to Paradise"
"When I come Around"
1. OK Computer - Radiohead
Radiohead is weird. There is just no other way of putting it. Fortunately the brand of weird that Radiohead employs is incredible.
Seriously I can't tell you how many time I have listened to OK Computer when I have been in a creative slump. To give you an idea of how Radiohead is able to get the creative juices flowing, they happen to be one of Christopher Nolan's favorite bands. Christopher. Mother-Flippin'. Nolan. It makes me wonder if was listening to OK Computer as he was putting the finishing touches on the script for Inception.
"Subterranean Homesick Alien"
Do you have a favorite album from the 90s? Let me know what your favorite album is in the comment section below. If you like what you see on the site be sure to share it on Facebook, Twitter and Google.